Wednesday, August 08, 2007

TLA Releasing: The Blossoming of...

TLA Releasing is proudly distributing the DVD of this past year's official entry for the Foreign Language Oscar, "The Blossoming of Maximos Oliveros" "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros" (dir. Auraeus Solito, Philippines, 2005, 100 mins.). I first saw the film at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2006. At the time, I said it "started off REALLY rough! It has ZERO production values! I was regretting picking this, at first. However, the performance by Nathan Lopez as a 12 year old gay boy who falls in love with a policeman was charming! And the policeman (J.R. Valentin) was sort of hot! It had a really mature screenplay that didn't stoop to cheap sentiment. So, I sort of liked it..." I must admit that the film actually screens better on video than the big screen. It is a small and intimate story, but performed with a naive, if nearly amateur heavy handedness that tread the line of pathos when projected in a theater as large as the main room at the Kabuki (now Sundance Cinema) in San Francisco. However, watching it again, albeit on a 96" projection screen, I found it's innocence and sincerity quite touching. As far as 'teen gay coming of age stories' are concerned, "The Blossoming..." is far from trite. The conflicts and raw performances add a touch of realism that most stateside productions avoid in fear of offending an audience with the sexuality of a pre-teen, which is the heart of "The Blossoming...".

The video transfer is 1.78:1, which is a slightly odd aspect ratio that is best screened in the 'native' resolution and not in 1.85:1, as that nearly cuts off the subtitles at the bottom. Other than that, the transfer is as clean as the apparent low-budget production values of the film stock or DV resolution (it is so hard to tell anymore!) allow. The sound is 2.0 Stereo in Dolby, which reflects the original soundtrack. There are no alternative language soundtracks and the only available subtitles are in English. The lack of an English soundtrack doesn't bother ME in the least, as it preserves Nathan Lopez's performance.

The extras are slim. There is a Photo Gallery, which is a compilation of production and publicity shots, though nothing behind the scenes. There are also a trio of trailers of other TLA Releases.

The street date is August 28th and the SRP is $19.99, which suggests that it will probably retail at $14.99, which is a nice little bargain for a nice little film.

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